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“One of the worst”: Wildfire in Arizona mining town destroys at least 13 homes, prompts hundreds to evacuate

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Baghdad, Arizona — The forward progress of what was a fast-moving wildfire has been stopped in the small mining town of Bagdad, Arizona, but not before 13 homes were destroyed and hundreds of people were evacuated, CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV reports.

Ten outhouses and one vehicle had also been burned by the Spur Fire as of Thursday evening, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

“It’s one of the worst, yes,” said Tiffany Davila, a spokeswoman for the state forestry agency, when asked about the damage compared to past Arizona wildfires.

The Phoenix based mining company Freeport-McMoRan operates the copper/molybdenum mine in Baghdad and owns all the homes and commercial buildings in town, KPHO says. It’s one of only two remaining company-owned towns in Arizona.

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The blaze was about 25 percent contained and has charred some 150 acres, authorities said.

The Bagdad Fire and Rescue Department stopped the flames from spreading at around 9 p.m.

damage-from-spur-fire-in-baghdad-arizona-on-may-27-2021.jpg
Damage is seen from the Spur Fire in small mining town of Baghdad, Arizona, outside Phoenix on May 27, 2021.

Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management / KPHO-TV


Firefighters were keeping crews on the ground but didn’t plan to use helicopters or planes.

About 570 evacuation notices were sent to people in the area, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

The office said an initial investigation showed a road construction crew may have sparked the wildfire. Officials are still investigating.

Power in Baghdad had to be turned off around 5 p.m. to protect firefighters battling the fire. flames. Phone lines were also down.

A shelter was set up at an elementary school in nearby Wickenburg. State Routes 96 and 97 were shut down coming into Bagdad, which has a population of about 2,000 and is approximately 125 miles northwest of Phoenix.

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